News and Events

Improved Outcome with Combination Treatments

26 April 2015

Combination treatment with ipilimumab (Yervoy) and nivolumab (Opdivo) led to higher response rates and longer progression-free survival (PFS) versus ipilimumab-only therapy, according to results published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The randomized, double-blind phase II clinical trial evaluated the combination therapy versus monotherapy with ipilimumab in patients with BRAF wild-type advanced melanoma and those with BRAF-mutant advanced melanoma.

Pembrolizumab versus Ipilimumab in Advanced Melanoma

23 April 2015

The findings of a recent study comparing two drugs for metastatic melanoma represent "the most important development in the treatment of this disease ever, and a landmark in terms of cancer treatment in general," according to Professor Rick Kefford of the Melanoma Institute Australia. Published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the study found that the anti–PD-1 antibody pembrolizumab prolonged progression-free survival and overall survival and had less high-grade toxicity than did ipilimumab in patients with advanced melanoma.

Prevention and Control of Skin Cancer: Live Webcast

23 April 2015

The prevention and control of skin cancer featured in a live webcast of the April session of the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) Public Health Grand Rounds. The session, which is now available on the CDC website, addresses a range of topics, including evidence-based preventive interventions and the status of their implementation.

The Burgeoning Cost of Cancer in NZ

18 April 2015

The total cost of treating cancer in the public health system was $880 million, which is 26 percent greater than the Ministry of Health estimate (of $526 million) for the same period (based on data collected between 2010 and 2011), according to researchers from the University of Otago Department of Public Health. The researchers found the cost varied greatly by cancer type. Melanoma is one of the cheapest cancers to treat at $8000 per diagnosed and treated.

Melanoma’s ‘Safe Haven’ Targeted for Shut-Down

15 April 2015

Melanoma cells become drug resistant by using surrounding healthy cells to provide a 'safe haven' from treatment, according to new research published in Cancer Cell. "It's clear that the 'safe haven' offered by the surrounding cells is triggered as a response to the same drugs that target this class of melanoma. Knowing more about this relationship means we can start to improve treatment." - Dr Erik Sahai, lead researcher.

Australian Parliament Report on Skin Cancer Relevant for New Zealand

8 April 2015

The recently released Australian Federal Parliament's report on the inquiry into skin cancer in Australia offers key recommendations of relevance to New Zealand. These include the need to urgently update the Guidelines for the Management of Melanoma in Australia and New Zealand, along with guidelines on basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma (and related lesions), and to consider offering the guidelines on a digital platform.

GEP May Improve Prognostic Accuracy of SLNB

4 April 2015

A gene expression profile (GEP) test recently found to be effective for melanoma has now been found to be capable of improving the prognostic accuracy of sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) in identifying patients at high risk of their cancer spreading, according to a study published in the March issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. The GEP test was able to identify as high-risk a significant number of patients whose sentinel lymph-node biopsy results indicated no increased risk, but who subsequently developed metastatic disease.

Imiquimod Cream a Viable Option for Melanoma In Situ, Lentigo Maligna Type

2 April 2015

Imiquimod cream appears to be a viable option for primary or adjuvant treatment of lentigo maligna (LM) in older patients who are poor surgical candidates, according to authors of a recent retrospective cohort study. A randomized, controlled, prospective trial should be performed to determine the long-term efficacy.

News from the American Academy of Dermatology Conference

26 March 2015

Highlighted presentations at the annual American Academy of Dermatology conference available from Medpage Today include the uncertain status of spray sunscreens, the case for following patients with in-situ melanoma and the value of a single dermatology visit in reducing the odds for diagnosis of invasive melanoma.